Northern Wyoming News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Karla Pomeroy
Editor 

Karla's Kolumn

Freedom of speech applies to all

 

July 2, 2016



Monday is Independence Day — the day we celebrate our declaration of freedom from England.

The day we celebrate our independence.

Our forefathers, in writing our Constitution, felt certain freedoms were more important than others, citing them in the First Amendment – freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Specifically, it states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

All these rights and freedoms are vitally important for a society to remain truly free but lately it seems freedom of speech has been under attack, including on the opinion pages of newspapers across the country including here at the Daily News.

When I first came to the Daily News a telephone conversation one of the readers had with the previous editor was still saved on my phone. He was complaining about one of the columnists that the Daily News runs on a regular basis. He was requesting that the Daily News no longer run that columnist because he didn’t like or appreciate the columnist’s opinion.

I have had angry emails and phone calls about editorial cartoons that have appeared on this page. A few, unfortunately, have cancelled subscriptions over editorial cartoons and most recently one due to an opinion of another letter-to-the-editor writer.

It seems that we have become a society of “it’s OK to have freedom of speech as long as your speech and your opinion agrees with me.”

Consider all the protests at Trump rallies (albeit most of those are paid protestors). They don’t like what he says so they want to squelch his right to free speech.

Our country was founded on free speech, and a quest for freedom for all — no matter race, gender, religious preference or sexual preference.

We all have a right, granted by the Constitution of the United States of America to our own opinion and to voice that opinion.

One recent writer said he did not like our letter to the editor policy.

Our policy is simple.

I believe everyone has a right to their opinion, whether I agree with it or not. As long as the letter is not libelous, full of falsehoods and does not violate any laws. Just FYI, the one letter in question recently, I did ask the author to omit the last paragraph of his letter because of concerns I had. He agreed.

When I write this column every week, I get a variety of opinions around the community. Some readers enjoy them, others are indifferent, others disagree and some, including members of my family, say they like them but they don’t agree with me all the time.

I’m OK with that. I don’t expect them to agree with me all the time, nor do I want them to.

These are my opinions.

The world would be a boring place if we all agreed and we all had the same opinion.

So, as long as I live in a free United States of America and freedom of speech is still a right here, I will continue with the current letter to the editor policy – you have a right to your opinion, I believe in that right, and I, and the management of the Daily News will not stifle your voice on the page.

 
 

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